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FIA Launches Motorsport Concussion Study

Health is wealth and the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) certainly prioritizes it, even in the field of motorsports. This as the governing body of motorsports globally is planning to launch a comprehensive and potentially transformational motorsport concussion study.

Together with neuro-diagnostic company Neuro Kinetics (NKI), the University of Cambridge and Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, the FIA recently started a two-year study dubbed as ‘RESCUE-RACER’ or ‘Research Evaluating Sports ConcUssion Events–Rapid Assessment of Concussion and Evidence for Return.’

The project is expected to result in evidenced-based, medical decision-making protocols for track-side evaluation after accidents that result in concussions to drivers, and to properly devise clinical management of motorsports concussion, including the important ‘return-to-race’ decision.

The project’s target is to establish the natural history of symptoms and signs of concussion sustained in motorsport activity.

Based on the article posted in FIA.com, there are possible risks for the racer, the competitors, spectators, and the crew if not addressed properly.

It explained that the survey will focus on motorsport concussion which will utilize “the most promising and technologically-advanced concussion assessment systems currently available.”

The study will include NKI’s innovative I-PAS (I-Portal Portable Assessment System), which is already used in IndyCar; the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB); salivary biomarkers; and functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) at 7T.

The FIA explained that the program starts “by collecting baseline data from professional racing drivers in the United Kingdom with post-injury tests to be run during the 2019 race season.”

The concussion survey collated will consist of two parts:

  1. CarBON (Competitor Assessment at Baseline; Ocular, Neuroscientific), which is set to check 40 UK-based racing drivers at baseline;
  2. CARS (Concussion Assessment and Return to motorSport), which will assess a minimum of 20 drivers serially in the acute post-injury period (1-3 weeks).

Primary study support is provided by the FIA’s 2018 Sid Watkins Scholar and RESCUE-RACER Study Coordinator, Dr. Naomi Deakin, and is overseen by Prof. Peter Hutchinson, Professor of Neurosurgery at Cambridge University and Chief Medical Officer for the British Grand Prix.

“The project represents a significant step for motorsport medicine,” Hutchinson was quoted as saying. “RESCUE-RACER prospectively follows drivers through a racing season and uses state-of-the-art assessment tools and imaging. This represents a tremendous opportunity to improve the management of drivers with concussion and traumatic brain injury in terms assisting recovery and enabling return to safe driving.”

But this would not just benefit those in the motorsports but the public as well as the FIA said that findings could also translate into enhanced care for road traffic accident victims on public roads.

FIA 8860-2018

Akio Toyoda
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